Category Archives: Customer Service

Whither the Customer Service Excellence?

Blogger Nan C. Loyd recently posted an interesting article on her Joy-Cafe.com blog, about the lack of follow-through and excellent business practices within many businesses today.  She raises some valid points, and asks the question "What on earth happened to the ‘the customer is always right’ attitude?"

While personally, I tend to modify that statement:
The customer may not be always right, but they are always the customer, and therefore should never be made to feel wrong.

But I know where Nan is coming from.  Read her post, simply called Excellence.

  — Chuck Dennis

Patients are Customers, Too

Oftentimes, medical facilities seem to forget that they, like all other businesses, are in the people business.  Maybe it’s because the majority of the payment comes via insurance companies.  Maybe it’s because the healthcare providers see their focus as the sickness, more than the patient.  But whatever the reason, the customer experience is frequently overlooked.

Last week, my father, almost 87 years old, was in the hospital in Memphis, TN.  He had surgery for some recent health issues, but brought some of his existing health issues with him, namely, diabetes.  During his post-surgery stay, the meals that were brought to him routinely included foods that had significant amounts of sugar.  Thankfully, my dad had the awareness and good sense to simply leave those foods alone.  But he was not too pleased that the hospital could not understand something that even airlines get, which is that diabetics require a special diet.

The delivery of his food also left much to be desired.  A well-dressed chap (black pants and vest, white shirt, black bow tie) came in each day, reading what "the chef" had prepared for upcoming meals.  Unfortunately, it was all scripted, and this fellow was not able to answer any questions that deviated from what was printed on his cheat sheet.  He also delivered the meals to the room, and placed it on the movable tray.  Unfortunately, wherever the movable tray was located at the time of his arrival, that is where the food was placed, irregardless of whether it was within reaching distance of my father.  Since Dad was bedridden, it was of no help to him to have the food on the other side of his room.  If my sister or I was visiting, we could move the tray into place.  If we were not, Dad would have to call a nurse for help. 

Another time, they brought Dad a snack of crackers and a small container of peanut butter.  Unfortunately, they did not bring him a utensil to put the peanut butter on the crackers.  Another time, they brought him grits with no spoon!  Now, oversights do happen, and if this occurs when you go out to a restaurant, you simply ask the waiter to bring you what you need.  But in a hospital…

a) you’re not feeling well
b) you’re not terribly mobile
c) you’re being cared for by nurses, who have other medical matters to tend to

It’s not asking too much that your meals be coordinated with you overall health concerns (not just the matters you are being treated for), and that they are served to you where you can reach them, and you are given the proper utensils to eat with.  The philosophy of seeing the world through your customer’s eyes has never been more applicable than when dealing with those who can not adequately care for themselves. 

  — Chuck Dennis

Jet Blue: A Little Lovin’ Goes a Long Way

It’s a well-known postulate in the world of customer service, that a customer who has had a negative experience quickly and sufficiently remedied by the offending business tends to be even more loyal to that business than the customer who has never, ever had a negative experience with them.  When I first heard that, I laughed, “Yeah, so if someone smacks me in the face, then says he’s sorry – I’m gonna like him better than somebody else who never smacked me?  Yeah, right.”

Leave it to me to reduce business concepts to smacking.

But in business, it makes sense – the loyalty thing, not the smacking.  Customers’ great fear is that they get “taken” – that they provide their hard-earned cash, and in exchange they get less than dollar value in return.  This is one of the reasons customers fly into rages so quickly when something goes wrong in their interaction.  They sense they are going to get reamed, and they are not happy about that.

But, if they have had a problem already successfully resolved by a business, the customer then has his fears alleviated a bit by the business’ past performance.  There is a comfort level, and a confidence that, regardless of what might happen, things will be resolved amicably.  There is trust.

Whereas, if a customer has only seen a business perform when all is well, he/she has no idea how they may react under pressure.  And all it takes is one bad situation to turn away a customer for life.

So this brings me back to the Jet Blue St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, where an otherwise customer-focused business just sort of melted down, and 1000 flights had to be canceled, including several that had customers effectively imprisoned on the tarmac for 8-10 hours.  Surely, this was a back-breaking situation for the airline, which had spent considerable time and energy building up a strong reputation for customer care.

But looky here!  It seems as though the efforts Jet Blue had put into customer focus before this fiasco, as well as their swift attempts to remedy the ill-will created by it, have paid off.  A recent survey of travelers conducted by Compete, Inc. showed that 14% are actually more inclined to fly Jet Blue since the Valentine’s Day melt-down and subsequent recovery and re-commitment to service that the company and its CEO have pledged.  This is in addition to the 56% of travelers whose belief in Jet Blue never wavered in the wake of this service nightmare.

When a service horror story that gains global notoriety hits your business, yet 70% of your market still believes in you, THAT shows you the true value of  customer focus.

— Chuck Dennis

Jet Blue’s Valentines Day Blues

Ah, Jet Blue.  I suppose it was just a matter of time before you, too, stepped in it.

Jet Blue airlines has been a favorite of ours for some time now, due to their less expensive fares, new jets, creature comforts such as large comfortable leather seats for everyone, and individual TV sets at each seat that show satellite TV when available, or at the very least, your choice of two movies. 

This is a company that really seems to "get it," in terms of seeing the world through its customers’ eyes.  In fact, an article in Inc. Magazine describes a scenario where Jet Blue’s CEO traveled on a flight, and helped the attendants serve customers, and stopped and chatted with each one!  The CEO and founder, David Neeleman, was asked how he came up with the airline’s great innovations.  "I get most of my ideas on flights like this one," Neeleman said. "The customers tell me what they want."

This is why it was particularly disturbing to read about the Jet Blue passengers who were forced to sit on board an outbound plane at JFK Airport in NY for 11 hours, due to foul weather, compounded by logistic and equipment issues.  Another incoming flight landed at 10 AM, but passengers could not get off the plane until nearly 7 PM.  Other flights suffered similar delays.  The chaos was exacerbated by the vast sea of luggage that had to be returned to delayed / stranded passengers.

This was a serious black eye for any airline to suffer, but especially for Jet Blue, that had prided itself on its customer focus.  Mr. Neeleman, the CEO, has been up front in apologizing profusely for the problems and inconveniences, and has tried to put his money where his mouth is by offering refunds and vouchers, based on the level of inconvenience suffered by each passenger.  But really, what else could he do, if he wishes to stay in business?

Only time will tell whether Mr. Neeleman’s promised overhaul of operations will actually make a difference in future crises.  If his disaster recovery skills are as bountiful as his other customer-focused ideas, then there is a good chance that Jet Blue can bounce back.  We hope that they do.

  — Chuck Dennis

Something for Everyone

That’s the tag-line for The Cheesecake Factory in Burlington, MA where I had dinner with a business colleague last week.  In my ongoing quest for the points where marketing, sales and service connect, I had a really interesting experience that I’d like to share.

As anyone knows who goes to The Cheesecake Factory, there is usually a wait to get in.  I’m not one of those folks who minds that wait – and they handle it all pretty professionally there, moving things pretty quickly.  We got called for our table which was a small table for two, right across from an empty booth that was just being re-set up.  My dinner partner asked if we could sit over there instead.

Our hostess hesitated and then informed us that we’d have to go back to the lobby and get reseated by “the computer.”  I asked her what that meant and she told me that all seating was done by a computer, and that we’d have to be re-entered and would probably have to wait another 15 – 20 minutes for a booth.  “Would you like to do that, or would you like to sit here?” she asked.  We looked at each other, and then sat down.  Needless to say – we had quite a bit to say about this between ourselves.  A computer.  To sit at a table that was empty and not 3 feet away from us!  Interesting approach: customer service dictated by technology.

We quit talking about it when our waitress arrived – but she sensed something and asked if there was anything wrong.  I demurred – but she asked again because maybe she could help us.  So I related our exchange with the hostess. Our waitress quickly said she’d bring back a manager to talk with us.  I said it wasn’t necessary – but she said he’d really want to talk with us, so would it be okay with us if she got him?  Okay, we said.

He came back, knelt down next to my seat so we were looking eye-to-eye, and asked if there was anything he could do to help us. He seemed genuinely interested. I related the exchange to him, and he was very quick to apologize.  He explained that the hostess was new, and that he was surprised by her comments.  “Of course, it’s perfectly reasonable to want a booth,”  he said.  “I’d be happy to give you that booth in just a moment.”  He went off to make the arrangement.  Our waitress offered us a drink before we were reseated.  We thanked her and said we’d wait until the switch.  “Are you going to be our waitress over there?” I asked.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, but she brought us our new waiter and introduced us.  Then we got moved the the table we wanted.

Sounds like a happy ending, right?  Our request was honored.  Everyone was happy.  But did the manager, Jason Spieler, stop there?  No.  He took it upon himself to exceed our expectations going forward. So here is what also happened in turning around our initial negative first impression:

  • Our drink orders where taken immediately by our new waiter.
  • Jason the manager served our drinks.
  • Our waiter took the time to make great meal recommendations.
  • Jason also served our meals himself.
  • Our former waitress stopped by to check on how things were going.
  • Our new waiter was solicitous, on top of things, and really funny to boot.
  • We didn’t lack for anything – we were completely taken care of.

By the end of dinner, we agreed that this was one of the best service experiences either of us had had in some time.  In fact, I’m hard pressed to get this kind of service from other “high-end” restaurants.  Now, let’s think about this. It started out less than stellar. It was packed in there.  Most restaurants would have either stuck by their “policy” or just reseated us and left it at that.  The Burlington staff “got it” right away – from our first waitress, to the manager, to the new waiter. They worked together flawlessly to reset our impressions and to make up for a rocky start.  Fantastic job!

I told Jason what a great meal we had and how impressed we were with their response to our little problem.  I shared with him a little information about customer loyalty.  A study by Technical Assistance Research Programs ( a customer experience research consultancy) shows that customers who have had a problem resolved successfully and amicably tend to be more loyal than customers who have never experienced a problem with a particular business.  Jason thought that was interesting and noted that he had never heard that before.

Here was another really interesting thing.  Jason shared with me that when he goes away on vacation to see his family, he goes to the local Cheesecake Factory for dinner purely as a customer.  He says being a customer while he is away helps him focus on delivering service to his own customers, and he gets new ideas he can use when he gets back home.

How many of us would visit work on our vacation, if we really didn’t have to?  Now I know why Jason and his team “get it.”  He’s not delivering just meals or good service – he knows he is delivering an experience. And he is a student of that experience.  His company should clone him and promote him.  Thanks Jason!  It was great being a guest in your restaurant.

And by the way, when you go to the Cheesecake Factory, get the Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake. Cheesecake

Oh my god….I almost caused a scene eating it!

— Lisa Dennis

Measure of Success

I am reading an interesting book about building an organization around the customer, called Chief Customer Officer by Jeanne Bliss. She has worked in executive positions for Land’s End, Microsoft, and Mazda, to name a few, and she has primarily been the customer advocate in these organizations.

Her book is very tactical, and instructs people on how to “fight the good fight” regarding dedication to the customer. I had the good fortune to speak with Ms. Bliss on the phone, as I was (and still am) reading her book. She recommends what she terms “guerilla metrics” in measuring business success. These metrics go beyond simple sales goals, and other inane customer service metrics like average length of call, number of calls taken, etc. Her metrics are:

  1. What is the value and volume of your new customers in any given time period? Are you bringing in new business, and more importantly, is it the right kind of business?
  2. What is the value and volume of your lost business, and what are the reasons behind their defections. It is critical to know why customers no longer do business with you.
  3. What is the value and volume of your renewals, or repeat business? What reasons are behind this? You need to know what you are doing right for each customer.
  4. Analyze revenue and profitability by customer group. Sales figures alone do not tell the whole story. If a customer brings in tons of revenue, but requires huge amounts of attention and hand-holding and special treatment, they may not be your ideal client. You want to shrink your most costly customer group, and grow your more profitable groups.
  5. Referrals by customer group. Who is, and is not, referring your business to others, and for what reasons? This is quite possibly the most important metric, in my mind.

These metrics get to the heart of the matter. Is there more business coming in than leaving? If so, why? If not, why not? And, are people sufficiently enamoured with your business that they would recommend you to their friends and colleagues? This is called Trust, and it is the most important asset a business can have.

— Chuck Dennis

Fly With Us? US Air Grounds Itself With This Passenger

As many of you know, the airline industry is at a difficult cross roads:  vying for customers, increasing fuel costs, profitability eroding, some airlines even emerging from bankruptcy filings.  Seems like a time when focusing on the customer would be a top priority, no?  Well – not for every airline, apparently.  Perhaps US Airways needs to communicate that imperative more effectively to their front line staff.  Here’s what it was like trying to be a US Air customer last week.

The situation begins at Continental.  I had an initial flight with Continental, which was delayed, causing me to miss my connecting flight.  So, Continental re-booked me on Delta (they have an agreement with them) to get me out on their next flight.  I went to Delta to check in, who claimed not to have the reservation.  A set of flight vouchers and a copy of the reservation showing me booked on the flight didn’t seem to impress them.  They still said they didn’t have me in their system.  Go back to Continental, they told me.  But Delta did have my luggage – which was transferred to them by Continental.  I told Delta that, who still insisted they never had my reservations or bag.  I was exhausted after a long week, and frankly didn’t want to get caught in between airlines.  I needed to get a flight out. So I decided to see if I could get a flight at US Air. I had vouchers that would allow me to fly on any airline.

So off to the US Air ticket desk I went.  The US Air agent looked at my vouchers, said there was a flight, started to book me, and then informed me that I would have to get my bags back myself, and have them rechecked before being put on the plane.  One small problem:  I didn’t have my bags. They were already in the baggage loading area, having been checked at Continental, and then transferred to Delta.  And I was not quite sure where they were currently.

So I tried to explain the situation, and the US Air agent kept interrupting, his voice getting louder and louder. I was not successful in explaining – so I took a deep breath and said “We’re not communicating well here.  Can you let me explain the situation and the help I need?”

He interrupted me, stated that he was trying to help me, but that I was being rude.  Given his treatment of my request for help with locating my bags, I found that a bit ironic.  I tried to explain again that I didn’t have access to the bags and needed his help.  Could he call down to the baggage area (which I had no access to) and ask for my bags to be located? He kept telling me I had to get them myself. This wasn’t possible because they were in an area which is not open to passengers! He cut me off again, tossed my vouchers onto the counter and said:  “You know what? You’re not my customer.  Go back to Continental.”

Needless to say, I was pretty shocked by that – and asked him, “Is this how US Air treats someone who is trying to be a customer?”  He got very angry at this point – put his head down, raised his arm and waved me off.  “Go!  You’re not my customer. You’re Continental’s problem.”

So I asked to speak to a supervisor.  He told me that he was the supervisor.  I then asked for his name (his badge was turned so I couldn’t read it).  “I’m not going to give you my name.” he said.  So I asked to speak to someone above him, which of course, he refused.  I told him that I was shocked that I was trying to buy a ticket and ask for some assistance and that he had treated a potential customer that way.

His response was to snatch my vouchers from the counter, come from behind the counter and march away with them.  No explanation or word to me.  He just took them and left.  I followed him – and told him that I would be speaking with Customer Relations at US Air.  He looked back at me, and said, “I don’t give a damn who you talk to.”  And then he marched up to the Continental desk, which was empty, and he walked behind the desk and threw my tickets onto the counter.  The tickets slide across the counter and hit me.  Then he slammed the door and marched back to the US Air desk.

US Airways’ current tag line – displayed prominently on their website – is “Fly With Us.”  Apparently this ticket agent didn’t know that US Air actually WANTS more passengers.  If asking for some help, and wanting to be heard until you’ve finished a sentence is unacceptable – then how many of us will fly with someone else?  I know that this passenger now believes what the US Air ticket agent said is right – I am not their customer.  Not now. Not ever.

Oh – and I did make it home the next day with the assistance of an amazing, helpful and thoughtful ticket agent at Continental.  She tried to book me on the US Air flight – since it was the only and last flight out that night.  Unfortunately, my friend at US Air noticed the reservation, called her back and said, “We don’t want her.”  So he canceled the booking.  The last flight out – and he knew it.

My Continental agent felt really badly.  She even apologized for the behavior of the U.S. Air agent.  Apparently, my friend at US Air has a bit of a reputation at the Charleston Airport.  A ticket agent, a gate agent, AND a TSA supervisor there told me that he does this to people all the time.  Mary, the Continental agent, apologized for him – even though he was not with her company, and not her co-worker.  She still apologized that I had gone through something so awful in “her” airport.  Mary Platt, ticket agent with Continental, was fabulous. She booked me a hotel room without being asked, arranged for a shuttle to pick me up – and got me a tooth brush!  Oh yes, she went to find my luggage and confirmed that Delta was wrong.  They did have my bags – which flew off to my destination without me.  God, I love to travel!  I can say that in over 20 years of flying for business – I have never experienced the kind of customer “service” that US Air had to offer me.

So “Fly With You?”  Not a chance.  Continental got it right.  Empathize with the customer’s problem.  Anticipate the help they will need.  Do it without being asked.  Cover all the details.  Own the problem – even if you didn’t create it.  Make it all better!   And she did.  Thanks, Mary Platt.  The more you helped me, the worse Jeff, the U.S. Air ticket agent looked.  He obviously doesn’t know what a repeat customer looks like – and it’s clear that you do and you will!

— Lisa Dennis

Nothing Casual About This Service

Last Saturday, Lisa and I were going to a wedding.  So naturally, the evening before, I was frantically seeking a new suit to wear.  (Brief explanation: due to the advent of "business casual" dress codes in the late-Nineties, all of my suits are more than 10 years old, and frankly, I may have put on a pound or two in the past decade.)  I had tried a few shops and stores, but had not found any suits to my liking.  So, feeling frustrated, at about 8:45 PM, I spotted a Casual Male store, that specializes in, ahem, larger sizes.  The shop was empty, except for two employees who were busy putting up banners and signs, trumpeting a sale that was to begin the following day. 

From the parking lot, I caught one employee’s eye, and gestured, asking if they were still open.  She smiled, nodded, and waved me in.

Now, given the stores name, Casual Male, I did not expect to find suits, but I figured I could come up with a nice pair of slacks and a dress shirt that I could button at the collar without cutting off all oxygen to my brain.  This I found – and more!  Both employees stopped what they were doing to assist me in finding items of interest, including pointing out a new suit that had just arrived that day.  They helped me locate shirts that complimented the suits I liked, and actually encouraged me to try the shirts on to ensure they fit, which required them opening the package and taking out all the little pins and cardboard backing.

Instead of hovering around me, hungry for a commission, they gave me time and space to find things I liked, but any time I needed assistance or had a question, one or another of the employees was there to help.  I ended up with two suits, three shirts, and a belt.  When it was time to pay, I was told that they would give me the 20% discount that was part of the following day’s sale!  I happily paid, and cheerfully thanked the two employees, who cheerfully thanked me and wished me a good night.  As I was leaving, I noticed that it was now 9:30 PM.  Then I saw the stores hours posted on the door: they were supposed to close at 9:00, and neither employee ever said a word about it, or even fidgeted around like it was time to go!  Now that was impressive!

Here’s what these employees did right:

  1. They invited me into the store, even though it was minutes before closing, and they were engaged in setting up for the following day’s sale.  They never mentioned that closing time was rapidly approaching.
  2. They were attentive and helpful, but not pushy or in the way.
  3. They made sure everything fit, even after taking my measurements, even opening up packaging to allow me to try on shirts.
  4. They gave me the sale pricing that was not scheduled to start until the following day.
  5. They stayed open an extra half an hour, just for me, with nary a peep of complaint or martyr-ism.

Here’s what these employees did wrong:

  1. Absolutely nothing, with the possible exception of making sure that I knew their names so I could commend them to their manager.  But that’s okay, because I will be sending this blog entry to Casual Male, so that they know the caliber of employees they have at their Warwick, RI location.

— Chuck Dennis

Staff Infection???

We often find ourselves working well into the night, managing multiple projects for multiple clients.  As such, we try to identify and utilize vendors that share the same dedication.  Sometimes we are successful in that endeavor, and sometimes we are not, and sometimes…. well, both.  Here’s what I mean:

My wife Lisa does a number of training and marketing programs for her clients.  She usually uses Kinkos to print documents for her, namely because they have the bandwidth to handle jobs quickly, can take orders via the Internet.  And, their web site claims that they have 24 hour service, which has been a real benefit to her in the past.  She can burn the midnight oil, creating her documents, then go online with Kinkos, and rest assured that in the morning, it will be printed out and ready to go.

But last night, at 11PM, Lisa submitted some work online to Kinkos.  At 11:05, she received a call from them, saying that they closed at 11, and there was no one there to handle her order. 

Lisa said that the web site said they were open 24 hours. 

The Kinkos guy told her that there has been a sign on their door saying no third shift coverage for two weeks now. 

Lisa said, I am not at the store – I use you guys via the Internet, and your site says you are open 24 hours a day. 

Guy says, sorry, can’t help you. 

Lisa says, wait a minute, are you saying you can’t forward the order to another Kinkos that does have a third shift? 

Guy says, again, sorry, can’t help you. 

Lisa is now pretty miffed, because her client is expecting this work today.  She tells Kinko Guy that she is going to speak to the manager about this in the morning. 

Kinko Guy then says, well, maybe I can forward the job to another store. 

Lisa says, hey, you just said you couldn’t do that!  Now, after I threaten to speak to the manager, you all of a sudden can do this???

Kinko Guy gets all insulted and yells, hey lady, I just work here, okay?  I’ve been here eight hours and it’s time for me to go home!  I was just trying to give you a courtesy call, okay?

Lisa says, some courtesy!  First you tell me you can’t do anything, then you tell me you can, and now I’m supposed to feel sorry for you because you worked an eight-hour shift?  Hey, I am the customer here, and I have been working for 12 hours on a Sunday to get something done for my client, and now I have to be jerked around by Kinkos, whose web site says open 24 hours, but whose employee says sorry, we’re closed?  No, I will be talking to the manager in the morning!

And she hung up, good and mad.

We went to bed, expecting to have to fight with a Kinkos manager in the morning.  But, morning came, and there was an email from Kinkos, telling Lisa that her documents were ready to be picked up!  A miracle?  Or just someone deciding to do their job?  Whatever, the bottom line is, Lisa got the documents she needed, but not without having to pull some teeth to get it done.

The lesson in all this?  There are several:

  1. If you do business over the Internet, make certain that your web site is in sync with your bricks-n-mortar operations.  If someone is doing business with you on the web, then they can’t see the sign posted on your shop window… UNLESS you put that same sign on your web site!
  2. When you have to tell a customer that your shop can not deliver on a promise that your web site made, don’t cop an attitude when the customer gets angry.  The problem is with your business, not the customer!  You set false expectations, you pulled the carpet out from under the customer’s feet!  Of course the customer is angry, so take the hit!  Apologize for the inconvenience, and offer something – a discount, a freebie, anything! – to try to compensate for the mixed message.
  3. If there is a way to correct the problem, then take the initiative to just do it.  Don’t wait to for the customer to suggest a solution, or worse yet, to threaten to go to your boss.  If you can fix the problem, or even think you can fix the problem, then do so.  If you can not, then refer back to point #2, and take the hit.  The customer will be angry, and rightly so.
  4. Finally, if there is a customer problem, and you are able to fix that problem, take the opportunity to apologize for the confusion / inconvenience, and maybe knock a buck or two off the price, just as a way of saying we’re sorry.  It won’t cost your business that much, and a sincere gesture goes a long way in the customer’s book.

   — Chuck Dennis

High Speed to Nowhere

Never satisfied to let one post on poor customer service suffice, I must follow up on my previous post about doing business with Cox Communications, my cable TV and "high speed" Internet provider.

Once I was able to provide them with the last four digits of my wife’s Social Security Number – at first, this seemed to be the Holy Grail, but ultimately turned out to be the key to Pandora’s Box  (please forgive the mixed metaphors, but these service downfalls really upset me!), I was able to get someone to try to diagnose my cable TV and Internet outage.  Reboot this, reboot that, nothing happening, okay Mr. Dennis, we’re going to have to schedule a visit for one of our field technicians.  The first available date is Saturday, between 1 and 3 PM.  Is that okay?

Ummmm, no.  That is not OK, not when I call on Wednesday, not when my cable TV and Internet were working fine when I left for work that morning, and did not work when I returned that evening.  Not to mention having to crack the DaVinci Code with my wife’s SSN before the tech reps would even speak to me.  Now they tell me I have to wait three days before they can send someone out to fix my problem.  No, not "OK."  Far from it.

Now, is Cox woefully understaffed in field technicians, or do they have so many problems with their service that normal staffing just can’t keep up?  Pick your poison – either scenario reeks of indifference to their customers.

Now, here’s the kicker:  On Saturday, a technician finally arrives.  He looks at my cable TV box and cable modem.  Then he says he has to check something outside.  The next thing I know, he is climbing up a ladder leaning against the house across the street, so he can access the cable that goes from my house to the community cable feed.  He then makes a call on his cell phone, and comes back to my house.  He tells me that someone accidentally shut my service off, but he got them to turn it back on.

Let me repeat that.  "Someone" at Cox accidentally shut down my cable TV and Internet, and after calling them to find out what the problem was, and then having to wait three days for a field tech to diagnose the problem and request service reconnection, all I got was this lame explanation.  No apologies for the gaffe, no complementary services for a month or two for my trouble, nothing.

I was promised by the telephone rep that I would not be billed for service for the days when my service was out, and that remains to be seen.  If they do not credit me for those days on my next bill, I will be pulling a major nutty on them.  If they do credit me for those days, it is in fact the very LEAST they can do.  And that seems to be what Cox is striving for: doing the very least they can do to keep their customers. 

My lesson to you, good readers, is to strive to do more for your customers.  When loyal customers don’t get what they are paying you for, you need to remedy that problem immediately, and then you need to put a "cherry on top" to ensure that your customer knows that you know that he has been inconvenienced, and that you hope that the customer will give you another chance.  It’s not that difficult.  All it takes is a little common sense and a little humility.

   — Chuck Dennis

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